Last season, changes to the minor league schedule meant that only El Paso played on Mondays. Since it seemed like a drag to write up just one game, we began a week in review for every team below Triple-A. This year, with the minors going completely dark on Mondays, we will take a look at all four clubs over the previous week. The goal is to summarize game results, let you know which top prospects are performing well, and some e of the less heralded players you need to know. I will be highlighting a hitter and pitcher of the week for each affiliate and the system’s overall best player and pitcher. Let’s dive in.
MadFriars Player of the Week (week ending on April 10): OF James Wood, Lake Elsinore.
We wrote about Wood’s exploits last Friday when he hit a pair of mammoth shots into the San Bernardino night. Wood drove in five runs that night and helped Lake Elsinore cruise to an opening night win. Overall, Wood hit .500/.636/1.250 in the two games he played. He was penciled in as the designated hitter on Sunday but he was a late scratch for unknown reasons. We will be sure to pass along any information as it comes in but hopefully, it was just precautionary.
MadFriars Pitcher of the Week (week ending on April 10): LHP MacKenzie Gore
Wood’s multi-homer night was a tremendous feat but Gore stole the show Saturday night with a highly successful and encouraging outing. The 23-year-old looked like the Gore of 2019 as he dominated the Round Rock Express for five innings. Gore allowed just two hits while striking out seven and walking no one. He saved the best for last by striking out the side in his final inning of work. With outings like Saturday, Gore’s stay in El Paso might not be very long.
El Paso Chihuahuas split series at Round Rock Express
It was the best of times for the Chihuahuas, as they ran out of the gate with three straight wins to start the season. It was also the worst of times, as they lost their last three to split a series on the road in Austin, Texas.
Top Performers: Veteran outfielder Trayce Thompson started the season red-hot by hitting safely in the first three games of the series. He homered in each of the first two games and had three hits, including two doubles in Thursday’s win. The 31-year-old went hitless on Friday and Saturday but still managed to finish the week with a .263/.391/.684 line with the two homers. At 31, Thompson is far removed from being a prospect but he could contribute if the Padres need an outfielder capable of playing in center field. … Taylor Kohlwey also had a nice week, hitting .316/.435/.526 with a double and a homer. Kohlwey. 27, seems to get better every year and has established himself as a player who could get an opportunity to help out the big league club. He doesn’t have the power you typically look for in a corner infielder/outfielder but he makes consistent contact and he swings it from the left side of the plate.
Top 20 prospects and other names you need to know: Eguy Rosario had a Triple-A debut to remember on opening night with four hits including a triple. The rest of the week was, to put it mildly, rough. Rosario went 0-for-15 in the next four games with three walks and 11 strikeouts. Rosario earned the golden sombrero on Thursday and Saturday night. The 22-year-old infielder only struck out in 22.7% of his plate appearances last year, so look for him to make an adjustment in the coming days. … Because Luis Campusano and Gore were still candidates for the big league roster when El Paso’s season began, they didn’t join the club until Thursday evening. Campusano appeared in just two games and went 2-for-8 with a pair of singles. As of now, the Chihuahuas have four catchers on the roster but one would assume that the prized prospect will receive most of the reps behind the dish. … LHP Ryan Weathers had a disastrous start on Thursday, recording just one out before being yanked. Weathers battled command issues and allowed three hits while walking three. Weathers, 22, appeared in 30 games (18 starts) for the Padres last season and was in the mix this spring for a roster spot. The outing is obviously not what the organization wants to see for the young pitcher but it is easy to forget that Weathers has made only 32 career starts in the minors. The Padres can afford to exercise patience with the former first-rounder.
For more information on what to look for from the Chihuahuas, read our season preview here.
MadFriars El Paso Hitter of the Week: OF Trayce Thompson
MadFriars El Paso Pitcher of the Week: LHP MacKenzie Gore
San Antonio Missions won series at the Corpus Christi Hooks, 2-1
Top Performers: Unlike El Paso, the other affiliates started play on Friday, so we saw a rarity these days: three-game series in the minors. Going forward, they will play six-game sets except for the week of July 4. … Esteury Ruiz had a big series for the Missions and was the sparkplug for an offense that scored 21 runs in the three-game set. Ruiz went 6-for-13 with a double, triple, homer, and five RBI. The 22-year-old had some bright moments last season for the Missions but overall, he produced a slightly below league average slash-line. He opened this season hitting .462/.500/.923. … Brandon Dixon hit .333/.375/.600 with a homer and five RBI while starting all three games against Corpus Christi. The 30-year-old signed with the Padres as a minor league free agent. He spent last year playing in Japan. Dixon was born in La Jolla and played his high school ball in Murrieta. … RHP Matt Waldron turned in a fantastic start on Saturday night, pitching five solid innings in a game the Missions won. Waldron didn’t miss a lot of bats, striking out just two but he allowed only two hits. After a promotion from Fort Wayne last season, Waldron struggled to adjust to more advanced hitters and pitched to a 6.61 ERA in seven starts. The knuckleballer could be a valuable weapon if he can work deep into games like he did last season in Fort Wayne.
For more information on the Missions, read our season preview here.
Top 20 Prospects and other names you need to know: RHP Kevin Kopps pitched a scoreless frame in his only outing of the weekend. He allowed a couple of hits but escaped unscathed. The 25-year-old could be a big league bullpen option later in the season. … RHP Thomas Eshelman pitched on Sunday and worked five solid innings. The former El Camino high school star has 31 games of big league experience, all coming with the Baltimore Orioles over the last three seasons. His numbers last season in Triple-A weren’t pretty, but for a team that was forced to find arms in September, he could be a valuable depth option for the organization.
MadFriars San Antonio Hitter of the Week: OF Esteury Ruiz
MadFriars San Antonio Pitcher of the Week: RHP Matt Waldron
Fort Wayne TinCaps drop series at the Dayton Dragons, 2-1
Top Performers: Joshua Mears‘s opening series gave Padres fans a glimpse of what he is capable of. On a cold day in Dayton, the outfielder heated up in Ohio, hitting a pair of homers in game one of a doubleheader on Sunday. Mears’ overall line in the series looks monstrous: .333/.385/1.000 but it comes with a bit of a caveat. When Mears wasn’t collecting extra-base hits, he was striking out. Mears whiffed eight times in 13 plate appearances which included four on opening night. Mears struck out 39% of the time last season in Lake Elsinore. As we have said before, his power is the loudest tool in the system but he will need to make more contact for his raw power to show up in games. … Infielder Ripken Reyes hit the TinCaps’ first homer of the season on Friday night and went 3-for-6 in two games. The 25-year-old has been very good at the plate since being drafted and should be a steadying force in a young TinCaps lineup. … In the three-game series against Dayton, the TinCaps starting pitchers worked a collective six innings – not exactly a recipe for success. The bullpen fared much better and Fort Wayne saw excellent work from RHP Alek Jacob. The 23-year-old fired three shutout innings Friday, allowing just one hit and striking out five. The former Gonzaga Bulldog uses a three-quarter delivery to keep hitters off-balance. He worked as a starter in college but he has been outstanding as a reliever since turning pro. Jacob has begun his professional career without allowing a run in 22.2 innings, striking out 34 batters while walking just two.
For more information on the TinCaps, check out our season preview here.
Top 20 prospects and other names you need to know: Robert Hassell III had an excellent series, going 5-for-11, with a homer, four RBI, and just two strikeouts in the three-game set. The 20-year-old outfielder does an excellent job of controlling the strike zone and makes consistent contact. Hassell struggled a bit in his first experience in High-A but if he continues to show the bat control he has early on, he could be in Double-A by the summer. … RHP Felix Minjarez relieved Robert Gasser on opening night and faced five batters, striking out all five. The big right-hander from Redlands College has pitched in 84 games since joining the organization as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in 42 games for the TinCaps a year ago, eating up 73 innings.
MadFriars Fort Wayne Hitter of the Week: OF Joshua Mears
MadFriars Fort Wayne Pitcher of the Week: RHP Alek Jacob
Lake Elsinore Storm drop series at Inland Empire, 2-1
Top Performers: Lake Elsinore won big on opening night and carried a 5-1 lead into the eighth inning on Saturday. before allowing eight runs to lose before dropping the series finale. While all eyes are on James Wood, he wasn’t the only hitter to perform. … Outfielder/first baseman Matthew Acosta had a big series, hitting .455/.538/.727 with a homer and four RBI. Acosta’s return to the roster was a bit of a surprise, considering he produced a solid 112 wRC+ for the Storm last season while dealing with some nagging injuries. If he can stay healthy, he probably won’t be in Lake Elsinore very long. … Catcher Jared Alvarez-Lopez was a key contributor to the Storm offense, hitting .308/.357/.538 with a double, triple, and four RBI. Alvarez-Lopez didn’t show much offensive production in his two years in the ACL but he looked impressive in the opening series. He will split time behind the dish with Gilberto Vizcarra, who hit well with the Storm last year.
For more information on the Storm, read our season preview here.
Top 20 Prospects and other names you need to know: Shortstop Jackson Merrill had a good opening series, going 5-for-14 with a pair of doubles. Merrill also paced the Storm offense with five runs scored. Merrill shows some impressive pop from the left side of the plate and still has room to get bigger and add strength. Merrill controlled the strike zone well, striking out just twice in 15 plate appearances. … Big righty Garrett Hawkins got the opening night assignment and quietly dominated the Angels’ Low-A squad. The 6-foot-5 righty fired four shutout innings, allowing three hits while punching out six. The Padres drafted the former University of British Colombia hurler in the ninth round last summer.
MadFriars Lake Elsinore Hitter of the Week: OF James Wood
MadFriars Lake Elsinore Pitcher of the Week: RHP Garrett Hawkins